Easter Bread

My family has come to expect me to bake Easter Bread for Easter Sunday.  I’ve used this recipe for the past few years and my family really loves it.

A few years ago I was looking for an Easter Bread recipe to remind me of the bread my Grandmother used to make every Easter.  Although my Grandmother’s recipe was delicious, we no longer have the recipe and the bread was a little dry and heavy.  I searched the internet and I wanted a recipe that produced bread that was moister, lighter and sweeter than the one I remember as a child.  I had seen an Easter Bread recipe on the La Lama Mountain Ovens site and modified it to my liking.  Although I’ve said before that I usually have more difficulty with yeast recipes, this one went well from the first time I tried it.

I usually double this recipe to make six breads because I give at least four away.

Enjoy the recipe.

After rolling out the dough for one bread.

After braiding the dough.

Form the braid into a circle and pinch ends well.

Transfer into the pan and add colored egg(s).

Hot out of the oven.

Easter Bread

Yield:  3 breads                Cook Time:  30 minutes



  • 2 packages dry yeast (1 package yeast = 5 – 1/4 teaspoons; therefore substitute 2 1/2  or 2 1/4 teaspoon jarred yeast)
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 or 4 handfuls of white unbleached flour


  • 8 cups white unbleached flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 oz melted butter, cooled (one stick)
  • 1/2 cup Rum (possible substitutes whiskey or bourbon)
  • 6 dyed Easter eggs (eggs don’t need to be hard boiled as they will cook during baking; be careful not to crack)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • nonpareils


Step 1:  For the starter, add 1 teaspoon sugar to warm milk, then dissolve yeast in the milk.  Use your fingers to mix the yeast until it dissolves.  Whisk (or stir) in flour by the handful until about the consistency of a thick pancake batter.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour or until bubbly and about double in bulk..

Step 2:  While the starter is rising, mix 8 cups flour, 2 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon salt together and put this mixture onto a large wooden table.  Make a well in the center large enough to hold all of the starter plus the wet ingredients in the next step.  I have a huge platter that I use for this step so if my flour well gives way, I don’t have a mess dripping onto the floor.

Step 3:  Beat eggs in electric mixer until light and foamy, add melted butter and rum and just beat to mix.  Scrape the starter from step 1 into the well of dry ingredients.  Pour egg mixture in slowly while using a fork to start incorporating the flour into the well, making a soft dough.  This will take some time and a lot of patience because you do not want to collapse the flour walls while you have a very runny egg mixture in the middle.  Once you have a soft dough working, start kneading vigorously using a dough scraper to help it along.  The dough will start off being very sticky.  Keep adding dustings of flour and kneading until it is soft and velvety, being careful not to add so much flour that it become hard or dry.  This kneading will take about 15 min.  Place in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to double.  It will take 2 or 3 hours.

Step 4:  Deflate the dough but do not knead it.  Cover again and let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.

Step 5:  Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces of about 2 lbs each (make large thick loaves – yields softer bread).  Cut each piece in half for a total of six pieces and roll each piece into a long log, working from the center out.  Rotate working each piece, resting the others. This relaxes the dough and makes it easier to work with.  When all are the size you want (2 to 3 feet) to form them into twisted rings to fit the pan, then take two of the rolled logs and twist together to form a braid, pinching ends together well.  Place on greased (using cooking spray) sheet pans (I use the disposable aluminum half steam tray pans – the bread turns out better) and insert two dyed eggs per bread between the braids but so they are still visible – I usually place one on each side of the bread for visual appeal.  Cover bread with clean towels and let rise overnight.  Repeat for the other two breads.

Step 6:  Preheat oven to 350.  Place all three uncovered breads in the oven.  Bake until golden brown for 30 minutes to yield soft moist bread.  Rotate the breads 180 degrees and top shelf to bottom shelf for even baking when adding egg wash.  After 20 minutes of baking, brush each loaf with a mixture of 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk and sprinkle with nonpareils.

Step 7:  Cool completely before wrapping.  Keep breads well wrapped, so they don’t dry out.  You can double wrap and freeze if not eating in the near term.

Recipe adapted from La Lama Mountain Ovens.

Tips:  When handling the dough make sure your hands and all the implements you use are well dusted with flour.  Use your dough scraper as one “hand” when kneading.  You may consider preheating your oven to “low” for 10 minutes and then shut oven off to make a good environment for the various raising stages.  This can dramatically shorten the process time from start to finish.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the button below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Pandoro (also Pan D’oro)

For Easter Sunday I visited my sister and planned to bring Pandoro and Easter Bread.  I’ve baked this Pandoro a couple of times already and I think this is the best version yet.  The result was a light and sweet Pandoro.  My sister and head taste tester really liked it.  My sister-in-law said the Pandoro was better than those commercially made.

I had seen this on La Lama Mountain Ovens site some time ago and had set it aside for a while before trying it.  This past Christmas I decided it was time to give this recipe a try.  I usually have more difficulty with yeast recipes, so this one took a few tries before I got it to where I was happy with it.  As you can see in the pictures I didn’t use a Pandoro pan, I used disposable aluminum pans that are similar to angel food cake pans but without the center hole.

Enjoy the recipe.

After mixing is competed.

After de-panning.

Ready to take a bite.


Yield:  2 cakes                Cook Time:  60 – 70 minutes


  • 6 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 7 large eggs, lightly beaten, divided
  • 2 large yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 5 1/4 tsp, instant dry yeast OR 7 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla


Step 1:  Combine flours in a large bowl.  Remove 3/4 cup for kneading later.

Step 2:  Make your starter by placing 2 3/4 cups of the blended flour, 1/2 cup warm water, 3 eggs lightly beaten, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 stick (2 oz.) of unsalted butter and yeast in your mixer bowl.  With the paddle attachment, mix until well blended.  The consistency should be of a very thick pancake batter.  Tightly wrap the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft free place until it doubles in volume.  This should take 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Step 3:  Combine remaining dry ingredients while the starter is rising.  Add 1 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt to the blended flour and mix with a wooden spoon.

Step 4:  Assemble the dough by stirring down the raised starter in the mixer bowl.  Add the remaining blended flour from Step 3, the lightly beaten 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks, 2 tsp vanilla and 2 1/2 sticks of softened butter.  Begin mixing at the lowest speed with the dough hook for 2 minutes.  Gradually increase the mixer speed to 1/2 speed for an additional 3 minutes.  Prepare your kneading surface with the 3/4 cup flour reserved for kneading.  Dust your hands with flour  and, using a spatula, move the dough onto the kneading surface.  Gently knead while adding flour until the dough feels very silky and buttery and kneads to the point of just barely sticky.  You may find it easier to use a dough knife to help with kneading.  It is important not to add too much flour as the dough must remain very soft.  Place the dough in an oiled large ceramic bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free area until it doubles in volume.  This should take between 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Step 5:  For panning and proofing (overnight), punch down risen dough gently until deflated.  Turn onto lightly floured surface and divide into two equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a sausage shape and then into a tight ball.  Using cupped hands on top of the dough ball, rotate the dough around in a circle continuously until the surface feels taut, always maintaining the ball shape.  Do not put too much flour on the kneading surface as you want some friction between the dough and the surface it will slide on, just as you want to exert some friction on the ball with your hands as you rotate it – this is what tightens the dough ball.  Finally, turn the ball over in your hand and pinch the seams which have opened up on the flat bottom tight in the center.  Reverse again and place in a well buttered pandoro pan and gently pat down until surface is flat.  Place the two filled pans in a warm, draft free area and let rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan, until the next day.

Step 6:  Bake and de-pan by placing both pans on lower rack of preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until cooked through (check at 20 minutes and then test with a toothpick or skewer every additional 10 minutes, at least twice).  Remove from oven and place on cooling racks.  Do not attempt to de-pan the loaves until completely cool. Remove from pans and sift confectioner’s sugar over if serving, or double wrap and freeze.

Recipe adapted from La Lama Mountain Ovens.

Tips:  When handling the dough make sure your hands and all the implements you use are well dusted with flour.  Use your dough scraper as one “hand” when kneading.  You may consider preheating your oven to “low” for 10 minutes and then shut oven off to make a good environment for the various raising stages.  This can dramatically shorten the process time from start to finish.  Do not open the oven to peek until the whole baking cycle is done.  It is critical to let the loaves cool to room temperature before de-panning the loaves.

King Cake

The weekend before Ash Wednesday I had my family and my husband’s family over for Sunday dinner.  Since Fat Tuesday was in two days I was looking for a great King Cake recipe.  I found one on http://www.food.com and thought it would make a great addition to the Sunday meal.  My husband also wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.which I made using a boxed mix and tub frosting because it reminded him of his childhood.

For the King Cake, I wanted one that had cream cheese filling and was really rich.  This recipe gives me all that and more.  I did change the recipe a bit because I knew that my guests wouldn’t want something too sweet (unbelievable, I know).  I skipped the colored sugar and just went with the colored frosting, although I made three large stripes instead of two inch stripes with alternating colors.  This is a similar to a very rich, wonderful Danish.

King cake represents the three kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.  For the tradition of Epiphany in the privacy of your kitchen cut the cake in as many parts as people in the party.  In one of them, the a little plastic baby (big enough to prevent swallowing).  In the old days, they used a dried fava bean.  Everyone picks 1 piece of cake the one who discovers the toy is made the king of the day and wears the crown.  He picks a queen by putting the toy in her glass and everyone raises his or her glass and applauds. Same process in reverse if a lady finds the toy.  Tradition says that the next party or King Cake should be at the king’s expense.  Enjoy the recipe.

NOTE:  Traditionally, you may NOT prepare and serve this before Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) or after Mardi Gras Day!  The problem is that once you serve this cake, it will be requested year round.

Yield:  2 cakes                 Cook Time:  15 – 20 minutes



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast (I used 4 1/2 t of Rapid Rise Yeast in a jar)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided (2 c +)

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (16 ounces total)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Colored Frosting:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2 drops blue food coloring
  • 2 drops red food coloring

Colored sugars:

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 2 drops blue food coloring


  1. Cook first 1/4 cup butter, 16 ounces of sour cream, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over low heat until butter melts (stir often).  Let mixture cool to 100 – 110 degrees.
  2. Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.  Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour a little at a time to make a soft dough.
  3. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl, turn dough to grease top of dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.  I heat my oven to 170 degrees and then turn it off and wait before using it as the warm draft-free place to let my doughs rise.  Just be sure it’s not so warm that it begins to cook.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add egg and blend well. Add sugar, salt and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.
  5. Punch dough down and divide in half.  Place 1 half onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28 x 10-inch rectangle.  Spread half of cream cheese mixture on dough.  Roll dough, in jellyroll fashion, starting at long side.  Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal.  Repeat with remaining dough and cream cheese mixture.  Next time I prepare this recipe I will insert a coffee can in the middle of the cake ring during baking to ensure the hole doesn’t close up as the cake rises while baking.
  6. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden.  After cool, insert a dried bean, whole almond, pecan half or King Cake Baby into the bottom of each cake.
  8. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.  Ice the cake one strip at a time from center of ring to outside.  Each stripe should be about 2 inches wide.  Spread colored icing on cake and sprinkle colored sugar over icing.  Repeat with each color of icing and sugar until entire cake is covered in icing and sugar topping.
  9. COLORED FROSTINGS:  Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter.  Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla.  Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green (signifies Faith), 1 yellow (signifies Power), and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting (signifies Justice).
  10. COLORED SUGARS:  Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green (signifies Faith) food coloring in a zip-top plastic bag and seal.  Shake and squeeze vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar.  Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow (signifies Power) food coloring.  For purple (signifies Justice), combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

Recipe adapted from www.food.com.